FathomOnline

 

 Fathom 1995

Cover

 

Inside Cover

 

Poetry

Graham Touchie (4)
Jay White
Jacob Towers
Peggy Apostolides
Erica Spenser
M.M.
Kathy Mac (4)
T. Gaoh
Rob Hutten
Guillaume van Moorsel

Prose

Karen Smith
M.M.
C.A. Garbutt
Urs Frei

[PDF]

C.A. Garbutt

 

 

Lazy Gush

     Ten: Summertime
     Gerald’s two daughters walk along the edge of the fountain as if it is a circular balance beam. Their arms are held straight out from their bodies.
     “What does two minus three equal?” one asks.
     “Uh,” replies the other. She tries to figure it out on her little fingers.
     Meanwhile, Gerald is sitting with old Harry, who is rambling on drunkenly. Gerald is wondering whether the girls are safe on the fountain.
     “Porgy and Bess,” Harry sputters.
     “Whu?”
     “Porgy and Bess.
     Summertime
     and the livin’ is easy"
     “Oh, right.”
     One of the daughters skips carefully around to the other side of the fountain, and the two girls pretend to shoot at each other through the spray.
     Gerald raises his voice. “Careful!”
     The girls look at him, and then resume fire.
     Harry reaches into a fold in his clothing and takes out a bot­tle three-quarters full of vodka. His fingers are nimble as they unscrew the cap, but when it is off, he is clumsy again, and the cap rolls under the bench. Harry takes a swig.
     “Like some?”
     “No. Thanks.” Gerald leans away from the alcohol smell, puts his hand over his mouth and nose.
     Harry picks another song, one that Gerald does not recognize.
     Walkin’ with my baby on a summer day
     Everything goin’ all right
     I’d skip a beat in my heart today
     If she’d only...
     He trails off as if he’s forgotten the words.
     “What’s that from?” Gerald asks.
     “Doesn’t matter.”
     On the edge of the fountain, one of Gerald’s daughters looks at her finger-thumb gun and says, “Two minus three equals blastoff.”

     Nine: Felix Takes a Walk
     Felix don’t take no shit, not from nobody, no-how, nowhere. He don’t get fucked. He just fucks. That’s Felix.
     Suck in’ back cigarettes and breath mints, walkin’ in the neighbourhood. Nobody gonna tell him what the fuck to do, ‘cause he just ain’t takin’ no shit.
     You dig?
     There’s Imelda. Yo, Imelda! What’s up?
     Nothin’, Felix.
     All right. Know what I got?
     Yeah, I heard about what you got.
     No one’s gonna fuck wit me.
     No, Felix, no one’s gonna fuck witchyou.
     Damn straight.
     Leave me out of it.
     Hey baby, don’t be like that. Look, I got you a ring.
     You shouldn’t have.
     I wanted to.
     You really shouldn’t have.
     No one’s gonna fuck with me. No one’s gonna fuck with Imelda. You fuck with her you fuck with me. An’ I repeat. No one’s gonna fuck with me.

     Eight: Cops and Donut Shops
     Rob and Bill are sitting at the counter on a hot summer afternoon, while their walkie-talkies crackle, and smoke chokes the air. Rob is thinking he could go for a dip in his pool. Bill’s mind is on other things. He has torn his napkin to shreds. “You know,” Rob says. “It makes sense that cops hang out in donut shops. It’s not because we’re lazy.”
     “Definitely not,” says Bill. “The people who hang out in donut shops can have very useful information for cops.”
     “And where else do you go at 3:00 in the morning when nothing is open and no crimes are happening?”
     “Also, donuts taste good.”
     A call comes over the radio, and they make to leave. But the call is cancelled.
     “Slow day,” Rob says as he sits down again. “Thank Christ.”
     Bill watches as his cup is re-filled with coffee. He empties five packets of sugar and stirs.
     “The baby’s due any day,” he says.
     “You nervous?”
     “I’ll tell you, I’ve never been more nervous in my goddam life. That’s the truth of it.”
     “What if she, uh... “
     “Goes into labour while I’m on duty? It’s taken care of.”
     “Cheers, daddy.”
     Cups clink.

     Seven: Got a Cigarette?
     Old Harry leans closer, and Gerald instinctively pulls away.
     “Got a cigarette, chief?”
     Chief? Gerald thinks. “Sorry, I don’t smoke.”
     “That’s okay.”
     Old Harry gulps from his bottle, and vodka dribbles of his chin into his shirt. “You know,” he says. “If you do ever take it up, do an old fella a favour and stub it out when you’re done. That makes it easier to re-light, you know. If you don’t it’ll just burn down. Useless.”
     “I’ll try to keep that in mind,” Gerald says, preoccupied because one of his daughters has disappeared from his sight.
     “God bless ye.”
     Despite himself, Gerald lets out a breathy laugh.
     His daughter reappears, brandishing her thumb and index finger.
     Gerald leans with his elbows on the back of the bench, and loses himself in the lazy gush of the fountain.
     Harry chooses another summertime song.

     Six: The.Cops Ain’t Gonna Find Out
     Where’d you get it, Felix.
     I got my suppliers.
     Felix. What if the cops find out.
     Listen up. The cops ain’t gonna find out. What makes you so concerned about the cops all of a sudden? How are the cops gonna find out?
     I’m just sayin’.
     Imelda, you’re a pain in the ass.
     Motherfuckin’ cops ain’t gonna fuck with me. Already said, no one, no one’s gonna fuck with me. Dig?
     You’re fulla shit, Felix.

     Five: Unexpected Visitor
     “You’ve got sugar on your mouth.”
     Bill wipes at his mouth, but doesn’t get it.
     “No, there.”
     He wipes broadly with the back of his hand.
     “There. You’re okay.”
     Jeez, Rob. I can’t believe how jumpy I am today.”
     “Understandable.”
     They stare down into the beige juice in their cups. Bill takes another large bite from a jelly donut, and wipes his mouth.
     They don’t notice at first, but Steve Ranford walks into the shop with his girlfriend. Steve sees them first.
     “Cops,” his girlfriend Marnie says to Steve.
     “Ssh. Just keep cool.”
     The couple sits at a table. The cops still have their backs to Steve and Marnie. Two more coffee cups are filled. The waitress, her neckline damp, shifts her eyes between the cops and the couple.
     Rob looks around.
     “There’s Ranford,” Rob says.
     “No shit.”
     “How many counts?”
     “Seven.”
     Steve stares back. Nobody blinks.
     “Fuckin’ prick,” Bill says.
     They push their coffees away, drop a few bills, and move toward the exit.
     “Afternoon, Ranford,” Bill says as he passes, and they walk into the afternoon heat.

     Four: Kind of Tense
     Steve swirls cream into his coffee and looks out the window.
     “We just have to act natural,” he says to Marnie.
     Marnie strokes her tender cheek and looks at Steve. “Yeah, I know. But cops still freak me out.”
     “Well, you know I haven’t done anything wrong. If I don’t have anything to hide, then there’s nothing to be freaked out about.”
     “I’m just kind of tense I guess.”
     “Here. Turn around.”
     Marnie turns and Steve starts to massage her neck and shoulders.
     “How’s that?”
     “Mmmmm...”
     Steve’s fingers dig deep into the muscles of her upper back. It hurts a little, but Marnie closes her eyes and thinks of their day at the beach together, with the music playing, the smell of sun­tan oil.
     She stands up and turns around.
     “Oh, Steve. Remember that day at the beach?”
     “You bet I do.”
     Marnie leans down and she doesn’t care who sees. She flicks her tongue along his lips, then kisses him hungrily.
     Steve opens his mouth and drinks her up.

     Three: Can We Go in the Water?
     Gerald awakes from his daydream to the sound of one of his daughters shouting.
     “Daddy!”
     “Yes, dear.”
     “Can we go in the water?”
     “No.”
     “Oh, come on, please?”
     “I said no.”
     She runs back to her sister and they sit on the edge of the fountain. They look like they’re pouting.
     “Because I’m your father,” he mutters.
     Out of the corner of his eye, Gerald sees a kid in baggy pants, one hand thrust into what seems like a bottomless pocket. He’s with his girlfriend.
     Old Harry finishes his bottle and sways to the music of the rushing water.

     Two: Let’s Sit
     I’m goin’ home, Imelda says.
     No, let’s sit for a while.
     Felix puts his free hand on Imelda’s ass.
     Stop it, Felix.
     Don’t fuck with me, Imelda.
     Real funny.
     Let’s sit.
     Imelda looks at the fountain and is briefly hypnotized. Then she turns and walks away without a word.
     Later, Imelda.
     Frigid bitch, Felix says, loud enough, and sits.

     One: Yeah
     They walk hand in hand out of the donut shop, on their way to the fountain.
     “Remember that day at the beach, Steve?”
     “Yeah, didn’t I say so?”
     “Yeah,” she says, feeling dreamy.
     They walk quietly for a while.
     “Remember,” she says, “when we used to make love three times a day?”
     “Yeah.”
     “Why don’t we do that anymore?”
     “We’re tired, Marnie.”
     “Yeah.”
     “But we could do it again, couldn’t we?”
     “I’m sure we could Marnie.”
     “I love you, Steve.”
     “Will you put a lid on it, Mamie?”
     Steve puts his arm around Mamie’s back and apologizes. “Guess I’m kinda tense, too.”
     Marnie nuzzles his neck and they walk to the fountain. Two girls are balancing around the edge. On one bench, two very different men sit. One is singing. On another bench, a kid sits with his arms stretched along the back and his legs wide apart, jutting out as far as he can stretch them.
     “Look at those girls,” Marnie says. “Isn’t that sweet?”
     “Yeah.”

     Zero: Compass
     You can see that Felix is directly across from Gerald and old Harry. Because of the gushing water, it is almost impossible for Felix to see the two men.
     You could almost see the fountain as a compass. The girls, skipping along their rounded balance beam, are opposite points of the spinning needle. Felix is north. Old Harry and Gerald are south. Steve and Marnie come in from the east.
     You can wish that Steve and Marnie would move to the south instead of the north. But they don’t.
     Steve walks close by Felix’s bench. He recognizes Felix from a few days ago. Things hadn’t gone too well. But Steve stays cool.
     “Hey, Felix.”
     “Steve, what’s up.”
     “Nothin, How’s Imelda.”
     “She’s fine. She’s fine. What about it?”
     “Nothing, Felix. Why are you so edgy?”
     “No reason. Just don’t like anyone dissin’ her, OK?”
     “She can take care of herself, Felix.”
     “Don’t fuck with her, understand?”
     Steve sniggers. “I won’t fuck with her. Like to, though.”
     “Steve,” Marnie says.
     “You know what I got, you know it, so don’t fuck wit me.”
     “I’ll fuck with whoever I want.” He pokes a finger into Felix’s shoulder.
     “Don’t.” Felix gets up, one hand still in his pocket.
     “Come on, Steve.”
     Steve lets go of Marnie and steps forward. Farther south, Gerald stands up, looking for one of his daughters.
     “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, Felix.” Steve starts to push his way past him.
     Felix takes his hand out of his pocket, holding the gun. He points it at Steve.
     “No one is gonna fuck with me. I thought I told you that.”
     Steve clenches his jaw. Marnie holds her breath. Felix cocks the hammer.

     Blastoff
     From the southeast, Bill and Rob are passing by and see Felix pointing the gun at Steve. For a minute. Bill thinks it would be better if they should just let him shoot the bastard. Then he puts his hand on the wooden handle of his own gun.
     Marnie is pleading, but Felix and Steve are ignoring her. Steve says nothing. He can see Felix’s hand shaking.
     Old Harry can see through the rushing water that something is going on. But he isn’t sure what. He doesn’t see all of what happens next, but he feels it in slow motion. A shout, then an excruciating split-second and a very loud crack. Then a lot of men yelling. The kid running to the east with his gun. The other guy running west, his girlfriend chasing him. Gerald running to the fountain. A cop standing with his eyes wide open – frozen – a hot gun in his hands, still pointing in the general direction of the fountain. The other one rushes to the fountain, shouting into his radio. One of Gerald’s daughters runs around to the other side.
     Old Harry gets up, walks to the fountain, and sees Gerald standing uselessly next to his daughter, who is lying face down in the water, blood gushing lazily out of her body. The water starts to shoot pink from the spouts of the fountain.

 

last updated August 17, 2007 | © 2007 Fathom Publishing
poetry, prose, and artwork © individual authours | website created by Alana Paul